How to Win the Lottery: 7 Tips that Really Work

No Schemes! Common-Sense Lottery-Winning Tips

If you read books or search the internet for how to win the lottery, you'll find a lot of tips that don't work. Lottery frequency schemes (every number has an equal chance of winning, no matter how recently it was drawn), software that's supposed to be better at picking numbers, and other forms of wishful thinking abound.

There is no way to predict the numbers that will come up in the lottery. The drawings are completely random, so the best you can do is try to pick unusual numbers so you won't have to split in case there's a tie.

That doesn't mean that there's no way of increasing your odds of winning, though. Here are some common-sense tips that really will help you win the lottery.

1
Improve Your Chances of Winning the Lottery by Playing the Right Games

Picture of a Lottery Scratcher Ticket
Lottery Scratcher Ticket. Lottery Ticket Image © Thinkstock Images / Getty Images

People talk about winning the lottery as if it were just one game. But every state has a selection of lottery games with different odds of winning. Read the odds before you spend your money to ensure you're maximizing your chances of winning.

Remember that lottery games like Powerball and MegaMillions are national lotteries, so they have a much broader entry pool. State lotteries, where players have to physically be in that state to buy a ticket, usually have better odds. More

2
Get More Entries without Spending More Money with Lottery Pools

Image of office workers giving a high-five.
Many jackpots are won by lottery pools, which raise your odds of winning without costing more money.. Image (c) Suedhang / Getty Images

The easiest way to boost your odds of winning lotteries is simply to buy more tickets. But of course, that costs money, and even if you invest a lot of money in tickets, your odds of winning are still poor.

But lottery pools give you the opportunity to improve your odds without spending more money. Join your office lottery pool or start one of your own to get better chances of winning. Read more about lottery pools:

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3
Don't Miss a Lottery Win: Double-Check Your Numbers!

Image of a Lottery Ticket and Results
Be sure to double-check your ticket to make sure your jackpot doesn't go unclaimed!. Image (c) David Gould / Getty Images

Imagine actually winning a big jackpot -- but missing out on your money because you forgot to double-check your numbers. It happens more often than you think. For example, take this article in the OC Register, where a MegaMillions lottery ticket worth nearly $300,000 went unclaimed. Don't let that happen to you.

When you buy a lottery ticket, keep it somewhere where you can find it again easily. Jot down the drawing date and time in your calendar if you're afraid you might forget it. Check the numbers against your ticket, and double-check them, just to be sure.

If you miss your lottery announcement, check out this state-by-state listing of winning lottery results. More

4
Multiply Your Chances of Winning the Lottery with Second-Chance Games

Image of a losing lottery ticket.
Even if your lottery ticket isn't a winner, you can still win through the second-chance game.. Image (c) Jeffrey Zavitski / Getty Images

OK, so your numbers didn't come up in the drawing. That means it's time to toss your lottery ticket, right? Wrong!

On June 8, 2010, About.com Sweepstakes Forum member KentuckyBell reported a Big Lottery Win. But she didn't win because of the numbers she played when she bought the ticket, but because she entered the second-chance game in the Kentucky Lottery -- and her entry was picked as the winner. She took home $120,610.70 after taxes.

So don't give up just because you didn't win the first time. If your lottery game includes a second-chance drawing, entering could be your ticket to winning.

5
Someone Else's Loss Might Be Your Lottery Ticket Win

Image of a balled-up-piece of paper.
Someone else's trash could be your treasure.... Image (c) Blackred / Getty Images

A lot of people throw out their lottery tickets after a drawing. If you find a discarded lottery ticket, it's worth taking the time to double-check their numbers. (Follow the instructions in the next step to avoid having problems like this happen to you!)

If there's a second-chance drawing associated with the lottery game, you can also use found tickets to enter.

6
Take Steps to Secure Winning Lottery Tickets

Image of a Pen Signing Paper
Be sure to sign your lottery tickets right away.. Image (c) Tetra Images / Getty Images

If you are lucky enough to win the lottery, the last thing you want to do is let the prize slip through your fingers thanks to a lottery scam.

To protect yourself, the very first thing you should do after you receive a lottery ticket, even before you know whether it's a winner or not, is to sign it. Your signature on the back of a lottery ticket can help prove it's yours if your winning lottery ticket gets lost or stolen.

Also, never hand over a ticket to a clerk at a lottery location and ask if you've won. Use a computer terminal to determine if you're a winner, ask the clerk for the winning numbers and verify them yourself, or check online or in newspapers to find the winning numbers. It's all too easy for an unscrupulous clerk to pocket your ticket and tell you it was a loser.

If you intend to cash a lottery ticket by mail, make sure you make copies of both sides of the ticket, in case it gets lost in transit.

7
Bonus Tip: Beware of Lottery Scams

Image of a hand stopping a thief
Stop lottery scams in their tracks.. Image (c) Alashi / Getty Images

Unfortunately, many scammers try to take advantage of people's dream of winning the lottery. Here are a few tips to protect yourself and avoid lottery scams:

  • Only buy tickets from authorized lottery retailers.
  • It's not legal to sell lottery tickets across national borders. You can usually buy tickets if you are located in the country, but offers to sell international lottery tickets by mail or through the internet are usually illegal.
  • If you didn't buy a lottery ticket or participate in a second-chance lottery game, you didn't win.
  • The lottery doesn't notify you when you win; you are responsible for checking your winning tickets.
  • You're never required to pay money up-front to receive a winning lottery prize.

For more tips, see Warning Signs of Sweepstakes Scams. More

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